Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Stanislaus Vincent Henkels (1854-1926), was born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 8, 1854, the son of native Philadelphians, George Jacob Henkels (1819-1883), a cabinet maker, and Elizabeth Regina Snyder Henkels (1821-1881).

Stan V. Henkels is one of the outstanding Philadelphia numismatists and antiquarians in American history. He worked as an auctioneer, bookseller, cataloguer, and a leading authority on autographs, rare books, prints, and Washingtoniana. In his career as an auctioneer he conducted at least 14 coin auction sales. [1]

In the 1880 U. S. Census he is living with his parents in their home at Philadelphia and working as an auctioneer, where he worked for the old firm Thomas Birch's Sons on Chestnut Street.

From 1882-1883 he was the senior partner in Henkels & Tripple, 1117 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

On November 27, 1882, John White Haseltine catalogued the A. M. Smith collection of 1,930 lots and Stan. V. Henkels conducted the auction at Henkels & Tripple.

In 1883, he married Martha Magdalene Duke (1856-1950). They had seven children : Martha Magdalene (1884-1975), Mary Elizabeth (1886-1961), Stanislaus Vincent, Jr. (1889-1943), Elizabeth Regina (1891-), Duke Howard (1894-1973), William King (1897-), James Mitchell (1900-1907).

From 1883-1886 he was the proprietor of Stan. V. Henkels & Co., 1117 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

Fig. Stan V. Henkels correspondence with the Chapman Brothers postmarked April 22, 1885, Philadelphia. Correspondence regarding the auction sale May 14th, 1885 comprising 1,253 lots in their plated catalogue containing three plates. This was the first of seven coin auction sales held at Stan. V. Henkels & Co., from May 1885 until October 1886. Later on Henry Chapman will hold two more sales at Henkels in 1914 and 1915. There is correspondence from Henkels in the Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive. See also on this website The Coin Shop showing more correspondence with Henkels available for sale.

A very rare postal letter sheet from the auction house of Stanislaus Vincent Henkels & Company, postmarked February 1, 1886. Other correspondence of this firm are also in the collection. This specimen has on the back side the letterhead printed as a folded sheet with the corporate name as a corner card for mailing. A real rare treat for any philatelist, numismatist, or collector of antique obsolete letterheads. Current estimate $350-$550. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

In 1887, he contracted the book auction sales for Thomas Birch's Sons.

A very scarce Thomas Birch & Sons, Auctioneers postmarked March 1, 1889 to Harry Chapman from Stan V. Henkels. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

From 1890-1897, he was chief auctioneer for Thomas Birch's Sons, 1110 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. During this period his name was published as cataloger.

On November 10, 1890, Henkels catalogued The Final Settlement of the Estate of General George Washington, by the order executor of Lorenzo Lewis, Executor for the Estate of Lawrence Lewis, Late Executor of the Estate of Gen. Geo. Washington. This sale was held six months prior to the famous Unveiling Ceremony of the Washington Monument at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia on May 15, 1891. Surrounding that famous ceremony was an era of interest and nostalgia in America's past and a new wave of patriotism sparked.

The Unveiling Ceremony of the Washington Monument at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia on May 15, 1891,(Cincinnati Society Commemorative Medal available in The Coin Shop on this website) had an intense impact on the nation and Philadelphia in particular arousing great interest in America's origins and in General and President George Washington. Six months later, on December 15-16, 1891, he catalogued the renown sale of Washingtoniana, "An Extraordinary Collection of Washington's Letters, Washington Relics, Revolutionary Documents, and the Rarest Works on American History" held by Thomas Birch's Sons.

In 1892 he with the aid of Dr. Edward Maris, M.D., was able to negotiate the purchase of the William Penn Charter to the Freemen of the Province of Pennsylvania. Henkels published an account of this transaction together with the Charter in 1909.

He co-catalogued an auction with his younger brother Alfred Fitler Henkels for a sale held on October 23-24, 1893.

From 1897-1898, he was the contracted auctioneer for Davis & Harvey, 1212 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

On March 25, 1898, he catalogued the Bancker Broadside Sale.

From 1898-1908, he was the contracted auctioneer for Davis & Harvey, 1112 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

In 1908 with Dr. Thomas Lindsay Bradford, M. D., he coauthored The Bibliographer's Manual of American History.

From 1908-1913 he was the contracted auctioneer for Samuel T. Freeman & Co., 1519 & 1521 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

From 1924-1925, he was the proprietor of Stan. V. Henkels & Son, 1304 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

He died on April 23, 1926, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After his death the firm Stan. V. Henkels was relocated at 1110-1116 Sansom Street, Philadelphia.

From 1931-1934 the name of the firm changed to Stan. V. Henkels, Jr.


[1] Martin Gengerke's American Numismatic Auctions lists 11 under Henkels, but the last belonged to his son, making only 10 for S. V. Henkels, Sr.

Bibliography :

1880 U. S. Census

The Numismatist

The Numismatist

The Numismatist

George L. McKay, American Book Auction Catalogues (New York Public Library, 1937)

Lorraine S. Durst, United States Numismatic Auction Catalogs : A Bibliography

John W. Adams, United States Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1

Martin Gengerke, American Numismatic Auctions